Ester Jordan is trying to pay it forward.
When Jordan’s granddaughter was battling cancer in 2019, her family was gifted a cruise from Kick Cancer Overboard. Jordan saw how much it helped her family and the spirits of the four year old going through treatments for leukemia.
To raise money for others dealing with cancer, Jordan decided to make bracelets from wooden beads and crystals. She bought the materials herself, crafted the bracelets at her home in Tinton Falls and sold them for $10 each hoping to put that money towards surprising other families.
She raised $90,000.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit all but shutting down the stores and salons she was selling her bracelets through.
“I was so frustrated because I was home and couldn’t figure out how to get the bracelets out there,” Jordan said.
So Jordan turned to the power of the internet.
“I made a group on Facebook,” she said. “I came up with this idea that if I could get 30 of my friends to sell 10 bracelets each,” then the fundraising wouldn’t stop.
The grassroots effort was so powerful that Kick Cancer Overboard was able to provide nine families with free cruises.
It doesn’t take Jordan long to create the bracelets and she doesn’t expect payment for the materials, wanting every cent to go toward the good cause.
“Wood beads are selling like hotcakes for the summer,” Jordan said of the recent fundraisers.
Her Facebook idea took hold with others as well. She captains the effort and others underneath her take up the cause of selling bracelets.
“The team leader gets to choose, once she meets her goal of selling 400 bracelets, the family that is fighting cancer,” Jordan said.
Jordan mentioned that former recipients take up the cause as well for others and sell bracelets or hold fundraisers. Several have raised thousands of dollars since being surprised with their own vacations.
The retiree has long made bracelet making a hobby but found a special purpose in putting together the symbolic jewelry now when children, veterans and others suffering from cancer get the opportunity to take trips they may not have otherwise been able to.
On Oct 8 Kick Cancer Overboard has scheduled a fundraiser at Sprengel’s Garden Bar in Neptune. Tickets are $20. Food, music and gift basket auctions will take place in addition to the ability to purchase a variety of bracelets handcrafted by Jordan.
Jordan’s granddaughter is now in remission after two and a half years of chemotherapy.
“Children are so resilient,” Jordan said.
But Jordan remembers how special the generosity of others was at such a trying time in her family’s life and continues to try to make a difference for others.